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Posted: 12/13/2002 8:50:21 AM EDT
[url]http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/805988/posts[/url] Supreme Court Injustice World Net Daily ^ | Dec 13, 2002 | Jon Dougherty Posted on 12/13/2002 9:37 AM PST by joesnuffy LAW OF THE LAND Supreme Court injustice? Gun group slams panel for refusing to restore felon's firearm rights Posted: December 13, 2002 1:00 a.m. Eastern By © 2002 WorldNetDaily.com A noted gun-rights group says the U.S. Supreme Court has committed an "injustice" by failing to uphold the "right to self-defense" of an American jailed for months in Mexico for possessing ammunition. Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, a 300,000-strong gun-rights group based in Springfield, Va., criticized Attorney General John Ashcroft, Solicitor General Ted Olson and the high court for upholding the Mexican conviction of Texas resident and gun-show operator Tom Bean. According to GOA, Bean, 63, attempted to enter Mexico for dinner March 14, 1998, after sponsoring a gun show in Laredo. He was arrested by Mexican border authorities when they spotted approximately 200 rounds of ammunition lying on his car seat; possession of ammunition is a felony south of the border. Bean, who also co-owns a used-car dealership in Port Arthur, Texas, was subsequently convicted and spent four months in a Mexican jail before he was released to U.S. custody under a prisoner-exchange program. He spent another month in prison before being released on supervised parole. Ten months later, a federal court eliminated those restrictions as well. Though he was convicted in Mexico for an act that is legal in the U.S., because he spent time in jail on a felony conviction he effectively lost his right to own firearms – a loss that also puts him out of the gun-show business. Bean took his case to court, and in 2000 a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas restored his gun rights, a ruling that was upheld on appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2001. But Olson's office appealed further to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that lower courts did not have the authority to restore gun rights to convicted felons. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court – in a ruling authored by Justice Clarence Thomas – unanimously agreed. "This is a tremendous injustice," Pratt said. "The attorney general and Supreme Court have conspired to take away a man's right to self-defense based on actions that are not a crime anywhere in the United States." Bean was represented by attorneys Larry C. Hunter, of Vidor, Texas, as well as Thomas Goldstein and Amy Howe of Washington, D.C. Hunter could not be reached; Goldstein and Howe did not return calls seeking comment. According to documents filed by his lawyers, Bean hinted that he was duped into signing documents admitting his guilt because they were in Spanish. "Knowing that respondent could not read, speak or understand the Spanish language, Mexican officials required him to sign a document in Spanish that he only later learned amounted to a confession," the document said. "As a result, and without a trial, respondent was convicted and sentenced to the term of five years in Mexico." Once out of jail, the former gun-show operator filed an application with the Treasury Department – home to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms – but it was returned unprocessed. Officials explained that the agency's "annual appropriations law forbade it from expending any funds to investigate or act upon such applications," court papers said. Nevertheless, a spokeswoman for the BATF told WorldNetDaily she couldn't comment on the case because it was under review. Deputy Solicitor General Edwin S. Kneedler argued the case on behalf of the Justice Department, but officials there did not return phone calls. "Amazingly," Pratt said, "[Ashcroft and Olson] decided to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Had they let the Fifth Circuit's decision [stand], Bean's right to own firearms would have been restored, and he would have been able to resume his career. "This horrendous move by the attorney general and the unjust decision by the Supreme Court means that Bean must rely on the BATF to restore his rights – an obvious 'Catch-22' since the BATF is prohibited by law from spending money for such purposes," Pratt said, calling on lawmakers to restore funding to the program so "injustices like this one can be reversed." Funding for the program has been frozen since 1992, court records said. The case is United States v. Bean, No. 01-704.
Link Posted: 12/13/2002 9:26:48 AM EDT
...appealed further to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that lower courts did not have the authority to restore gun rights to convicted felons...
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Does anyone know if the actual decision was only about who had the power to restore gun rights? They need to argue based on 2nd Amendment rights. This whole thing is ludicrous. No one would argue that a person would need to have the ATF restore his rights so that he could have free speech or worship God in a manor of his choosing. RKBA should be no different. If a person can't be trusted with a firearm, what are they doing out of prision?
Link Posted: 12/13/2002 9:35:51 AM EDT
the sad thing is that some sh*thole like Mexico can cause an American to loose rights, but wait a minute , hold on here,if it is an inalienable right, that means it can not be taken away. like i stated before unless you are willing to kill for your freedom you do not deserve it, this system is not for the people, and has not been for a long time. if we are to be free we will either TAKE our freedom or become slaves, and most americans are already the latter. i am free because if you try and restrict my freedom that was paid for in blood, by my ancestors, i will kill you, period. just my .02
Link Posted: 12/13/2002 10:03:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/13/2002 10:05:02 AM EDT by 2whiskeyP]
The really shitty part is that he spent 5 months in prison. One of those months served in the US. That is the only crime committed here. Pure b/s to jail a US resident here when he didn't break any laws here but all the illegal immigrants from mexico get away with murder. Mexico is really starting to piss me off! edited to add: so is the US for letting this kind of crap happen![:(!]
Link Posted: 12/13/2002 1:51:43 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Q-Man: Does anyone know if the actual decision was only about who had the power to restore gun rights?
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I haven't read the whole thing, but that is what was argued. The 5th Circuit restored his rights, and the Gov't said "that's not a power of the judicial branch." The Supreme Court agreed. They said (as I understand it) that the court could only intervene if the BATF [i]denied[/i] Bean's application for restoration of rights, but since the BATF has never processed his application (because Congress has witheld funds for restoring rights from the BATF budget) he hasn't [i]technically[/i] been "denied." Therefore the Courts have no say.
They need to argue based on 2nd Amendment rights.
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But they didn't.
This whole thing is ludicrous.
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Agreed
No one would argue that a person would need to have the ATF restore his rights so that he could have free speech or worship God in a manor of his choosing.
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No, but you have to petition to have your right to vote restored. Granted, not an enumerated fundamental right, though.
RKBA should be no different. If a person can't be trusted with a firearm, what are they doing out of prision?
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Good question.
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